Acts 13-14 – What About You?

What about you?  Were you part of God’s plan from the beginning of time?  Did God have you in mind in The Garden of Eden?

God created our world and He had the plan of salvation for it long before Jesus walked the earth.  Long before sin entered the world.  God knew Adam and Eve would fall and He knew that humanity would need a plan of salvation.  A plan that wouldn’t fail.  A plan that could save anyone who wanted to be saved.

Adam and Eve did what God told them not to. Because of that first sinful act, God told the serpent, the devil, that one day a child of Eve would destroy him.  All of humanity are included in Eve’s descendants.  Centuries later, a faithful man named Abraham was blessed by God.  Hi descendants were as many as the stars and those descendants were the Jews.  Jesus was one of those descendants.  He promised salvation to ALL who believed in him, not just the Jews.  He told his followers to make disciples of all nations.

The Christian Church started in Jerusalem with a small group of ethnically similar believers.  Through Jesus’ witnesses, this small group of believers, Christianity has spread like wildfire and now is seen all over the world!

There are no prerequisites for becoming a Christian.  You do not first need to have been a Jew.  You do not need to follow ethnic laws before you are accepted.  Jesus accepts all of us!  We just need to believe that He was sent to earth for us, for our sins, for our salvation!  Because of this ultimate sacrifice, we must do our best to follow in Jesus’ example and stay away from evil.  We must try to be a light to others and to show them how to be a follower of Jesus.

We must be like Paul and Barnabas and spread the Good News to all corners of the world.   How can you do this in your family?  How can you do this in your community?  How can reach beyond your community and spread the Good News?

Saturday – Chapter 13
Sunday – Chapter 14
Monday – Reflection
Tuesday – Praises & Petitions

Acts – Chapters 10-12

So, after Jesus ascended into heaven, who exactly were his disciples preaching to?  They were preaching to Jews.  That made sense, right?  I mean, they weren’t technically allowed to visit with, eat with or enter the house of any Gentiles.  Well, God had other plans.  And we all know, God’s plans are the best plans!

God sent a vision to two different people at the same time.  One vision to Simon Peter, using images to let him know that it was ok to speak with and eat with Gentiles.  It was also ok to eat the food that Jews previously were not allowed to eat.  “If God says something is acceptable, don’t say it isn’t.”  (Acts 10:15)

The second vision was to a man named Cornelius, a Roman officer.  He was told in his vision to go find Simon Peter in Joppa so that Simon Peter could share the Good News of Jesus with him.  Cornelius, a gentile, sent immediately for Simon Peter.

Cornelius was baptized and received the Holy Spirit.  Many Jews were upset about this.  However, Peter told them this:  “God gave these Gentiles the same gift he gave us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to argue?”  (Acts 11:17)

These are great words to live by today.  God wants us all to be brothers and sisters in Christ.  He doesn’t want us to think of ourselves as better than any other individual or any other group of people.  We must remember this always.  We are all his children and we all have the same promises from him.

How can you take this text and bring it to life this week?  Who can you share the Gospel with outside of your “Believer’s Circle”?  I challenge you to reach out to even just one person and embrace them with the love of Jesus.

Wednesday – Acts 10
Thursday – Acts 11
Friday – Acts 12
Saturday – Acts 13
Sunday – Acts 14
Monday – Reflection
Tuesday – Praises & Petitions

Acts – Chapters 8-9

Well friends, I am one day late with my post.  I hope you have all read chapter 8 already and will read 9 today.  Yesterday, our house got a little crazy!  You see, we adopted two kittens!  They are just 8 weeks old and as cute as buttons!  We have not yet named them, but will hopefully find the right names soon.  One is an orange kitty and the other is black and brown.  Our girls are thrilled to peaches!

As I settle into this Sunday morning, I think about the two chapters that are the focus for today.  They both talk about Saul, who is to become Paul.  What a story!  Saul was one of the officials of the high council.  He was determined to persecute, arrest and torture any Christians.  He was mean!  He was ruthless and he was a tyrant.  His sole purpose was to travel around and gather up Christians to jail them.  And then one day, he believed!

So, what happened to change this monster?  Jesus happened!  Jesus loves all of us, even sinners, especially sinners!  He knew that by using Paul, he would be able to reach a whole new population of people.  But how do you get a tyrant to change completely his views?  Well, you and I can’t.  But, with God, all things are possible!  So, Jesus appeared to Saul on the road to Damascus.  He literally blinds him with a bright light from heaven and speaks to him.  He says, “Saul, why are you persecuting me?  I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting!  Now, get up and go into the city,and you will be told what to do.” (Acts 9:4-5)

Saul obeyed.  He became blind from this encounter and was startled to say the least.  The men with him heard Jesus’ voice, but they did not see him or the light.  However, they led Paul to Damascus where he waited patiently and prayed to God.  He did not understand what was happening.

Would you understand this?  You were sent to a city to arrest people and now, the very one you are against is changing your plans.

After 3 days, Saul received a vision that a man would come and lay hands on him.  When this happened, he would receive the Holy Spirit and use the power to preach to the Gentiles.  At the same time, Ananias received a vision telling him to go to Saul and lay hands on him.  Ananias knew of Saul and was afraid.  He had killed, arrested and tortured Christians.  Now, God wanted Ananias to just walk right into the room where he was?  Wow!  Talk about faith and courage!

Well, Ananias did as the Lord requested and sure enough, Saul became baptized, regained his sight and went out to preach the Good News of Jesus!  He was now called Paul and was a significant instrument for connecting the Gentiles to the Jesus.

Isn’t it amazing how God works?  He rarely uses the righteous.  He seeks out the lowly, poor, sinners and needy.  He transforms them and uses them for His work.

How can God use you?  He can only use you if you allow Him to.  You need to be still and listen to His plan.  Are you ready?  Are you willing?

Sunday – Acts Chapter 9
Monday – Reflection
Tuesday – Praises & Petitions